BTS Indicators Report Shows Drop in Airline Fuel Prices

The U.S. Department of Transportationå‘s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released its monthly Transportation Indicators report showing that airlines paid about one-third less in January than in January 2001 for fuel on domestic routes.

Domestic unit prices for jet fuel in January were 32 percent lower than in January 2001 for nonscheduled airlines and 30 percent lower for scheduled airlines (prices expressed in current dollars). 

For international routes by U.S. carriers, jet fuel unit prices were down 17 percent for nonscheduled airlines and down 25 percent for scheduled carriers.

Dr. Ashish Sen, BTS Director, said, “Transportation Indicators provides information that is updated monthly on the status of the transportation system.  BTS will continue to monitor the nation’s transportation system through this monthly report.”

The BTS Transportation Indicators report is a monthly update of critical transportation information that details the impact of transportation on the nation’s economy and society.


Transportation Indicators provides information on more than 100 trends in the areas of safety, mobility, economic growth, the human and natural environment, and national security.  The monthly report, which is available at, provides information to address specific transportation issues and to assist in the effort led by BTS to make transportation information more accurate, reliable and timely.  Updated reports will be available on the BTS website at the end of every month.

Several indicators for December detail the continuing adverse impacts of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the airline industry, as many remained below December 2000 levels:

áRevenue passenger miles: down 12 percent for domestic and 15 percent for international flightsáAvailable seat miles: down 10 percent for domestic and 17 percent for international flightsáRevenue ton-miles of freight:down 22 percent for domestic and 10 percent for international flightsáAvailable ton-miles of freight: down 4 percent for domestic and 2 percent for international flightsáPassenger revenue load factor: down 2 percent for domestic and up 2 percent for international flightsáFreight revenue load factor: down 7 percent for domestic and 4 percent for international flightsáRevenue aircraft departures: down 11 percent for domestic and 10 percent for international flightsáRevenue aircraft enplanements: down 13 percent for domestic and 12 percent for international flights.Other trends highlighted in this month’s report areáIn January, 81 percent of the flights of major U.S. air carriers arrived on time, compared to 75 percent a year earlier.  There were, however, 17 percent fewer scheduled flightsáU.S. waterborne exports and imports were up 4.5 percent in November compared to last yearáProducer prices for crude petroleum were down 35 percent in February compared to last year. Producer prices for petroluem products were down 31 percentáThe 4 percent decline in producer prices for highway and street construction for the twelve months ending in February was the largest decline in the 10 years tracked by this report and follows a similar decline for JanuaryáPublic expenditures on highway and street construction were 10 percent higher in January than in DecemberáMotor vehicle and equipment manufacturing employment grew, on a seasonally adjusted basis, by 26,000 jobs—a 3 percent increase in February 2002áAverage hourly earnings for workers in water transportation services were up 7 percent in January from January 2001áNew orders for all manufacturing were up 2 percent in January compared to December, while manufacturers’ new orders for transportation equipment were up 4 percentáIndustrial production of light trucks was down 5 percent in February and industrial production of consumer automobiles was up 9 percentáLight truck sales in February were 5 percent higher than in the same month last year, while car sales were down 11 percent and medium/heavy truck sales were down 21 percentáRetail gasoline prices (average all grades) were up 6.5 percent in the week of March 11 from the previous weekáNet petroleum imports were down 10 percent in December, while U.S. petroleum production was up nearly 6 percent.

Continual updating of information on trends will help in developing forecasts for the future, both within the department and outside.  The monthly report will also help transportation decision-makers spot changes that might require rapid action.